Shopping in Manchester: The Complete Guide

Sep 20 2023

The Manchester shopping experience is truly one of a kind. Whether you’re last-minute outfit shopping or strolling around the Northern Quarter on a sunny Saturday morning, there’s something for everyone.

Great for those seeking convenience around the corner. Even better for the avid shoppers amongst you.

Manchester is known for its world-famous football teams and unforgettable nights out, but this city is also packed with fantastic shops – from large shopping centres to charming boutiques and vintage stores exploding with 80s, 90s and 00s fashion. So grab a coffee from your favourite cafe (Foundation Coffee House does a particularly good iced latte) and put on your comfiest shoes. Oh, and you’re going to need a tote bag or two…

Here at Kampus, we are self-confessed shopaholics.

So, it’s fair to say that we know a thing or two about shopping in Manchester. We’ll give you a bit of a lowdown on all the best spots around town, as well as some hidden gems.

Fallen in love with the city on a visit up north? Perhaps you’ve just accepted a job and need an apartment in the city centre. Whatever your situation, our quality apartments offer an unmatched living and lifestyle experience.

Book an in-person viewing today.

Manchester shopping: A haven for thrifters and designer enthusiasts alike

Everyone has their go-to high street brand. And in Manchester, you’re sure to find it in no time. Simply stroll up Market Street and you’ll be diving into the sale rack before you can say ‘shoes on a budget’!

But there’s so much more to the Manchester shopping experience.

For the fashion-forward, you’ll find a wide range of local designers and one-of-a-kind pieces. For the vintage lovers, there’s nowhere better to uncover timeless classics from past eras. ‘Mad-chester’, did we hear you say? And then, of course, there are the record stores, artisan food markets, home decor boutiques and charity shops.

Feeling a little dizzy? Deep breath in. Deep breath out. We’ve got you covered…

Top tips and tricks:

  • Want to avoid the crowds? Early mornings and weekdays tend to be quieter. So, set an alarm and get your game face on.
  • Shopping can be tiring work, so make sure you take a break. Manchester has plenty of cafes and restaurants to recharge, including Kampus!
  • Pop into Selfridges for the perfume and aftershave testers
  • Pack a coat or umbrella. Manchester weather is famous for a reason…
  • Whether you’re casually cruising with friends or you have somewhere specific in mind, it always helps to have a plan of action. Stick to a particular area or divide and conquer.

Getting around the city centre

If you’re anything like us, you’ll have a few bags to bring home with you.

The good news is that the city centre isn’t gigantic and a lot of it is pedestrianised. You can easily walk from shop to shop without feeling like you’ve completed a half marathon. Having said that, if you’ve really committed to your shopping spree, your daily cardio might say otherwise.

Manchester is all about easy living and creating a space for anyone and everyone to call home. And the transport is no different.

So, what options are available?

  • Take the tram – you can quite literally get anywhere.
  • Utilise the Metroshuttle bus – it’s free!
  • Hop on a bike – Manchester has plenty of bike lanes and bike-sharing schemes (if you don’t have too much to carry).

There’s truly a solution for every need.

Our top 10 shopping destinations in Manchester

Buckle in! We’ve picked out the very best places to go shopping in Manchester.


Most are located in the city centre, so you won’t have to travel too far. And for those that are slightly further afield, there are convenient transport links that will get you there in no time.

Find your favourite brand in the Arndale Centre

Slap bang in the middle of town is the Arndale Centre. Not to boast, but it’s one of the largest shopping centres in the UK. And, as you would expect, there are plenty of shops to choose from – including Boots, Urban Outfitters, the Apple Store and Office.

Our top pick: Whether you’re a red, a blue, or not really a football fan, the Manchester City store is well worth a visit.

Explore all the quirky stores in the Northern Quarter

One of the most popular areas of Manchester, you won’t want to miss out on the Northern Quarter. There are some fab bars to check out and some even better street art. But we’re here for the shopping and NQ has a lot to offer.

Wandering through the vibrant streets, you’ll find an eclectic selection of trendy streetwear, handmade jewellery and pre-loved retro. For all you sneakerheads, there’s even a shop that sells the rarest and most sought-after trainers.

Our top pick: Cow Vintage is a treasure trove of second-hand and reworked fashion pieces. There are comfy tees, leather jackets and all the denim you could ever imagine. It’s even colour-coordinated. *Exhales a dreamy sigh*.

Go further afield to the Trafford Centre

It’s grand, it’s buzzing with excited shoppers and it’s a mere 5 miles from town. The Trafford Centre is one of the largest indoor shopping centres in the UK and an experience like no other.

It boasts an impressive 200 shops, with everything from high-end fashion brands to high-street retailers.

Our top pick: There’s nothing better than finding that perfect comfy cushion or fresh bedding to spruce up your living space. Well, we think so anyway. And if you’ve just moved into a city centre apartment, you’ll need some homeware. So, if you’re heading to the Trafford Centre, definitely pay H&M Home a visit.

Discover deals upon deals at the Lowry Outlet Mall

Okay, so the Lowry Outlet Mall is technically in Salford. But we would highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area. Sitting just in front of the spectacular Salford Quays, this is an ideal spot for savvy shoppers.

And what it lacks in variety it makes up for in price. With outlet stores that include Cadbury’s and the Body Shop, you’re sure to find a bargain or two.

Our top pick: For those that are into the gym or those who squeeze in a run before work, the Nike Factory Outlet has some great discounts.

You can’t go wrong with Selfridges, even if it’s just a browse

Ah, the golden gates of Selfridges. Well, they’re more sliding doors and silver, but you get the idea. This department store is home to some iconic brands, including Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. If you’re into premium skincare and makeup, the bottom floor is simply heaven.

A little beyond your budget? Designer clothes aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but don’t worry, there’s a diverse selection of fashion, beauty and homeware brands to explore. We’re particularly prone to a Sunday Selfridges jaunt.

Our top pick: Let’s face it, who can resist a mini? If you’re stocking up, going on holiday or trying out a new brand, Selfridges has hundreds of mini products on offer.

Dive into Afflecks

Alternative by name, alternative by nature. The Afflecks emporium is a labyrinth of independent stores selling everything from precious stones to The Cure posters and everything in between. You can even get a tattoo or tarot reading…

Our top pick: Deviating slightly from clothes and trendy trainers, we’re a little bit in love with the plants at City & Bloom. A splash of greenery is always welcome.

Head to New Cathedral Street for a little luxury

It’s fair to say that this is a pretty stylish street. Just around the corner from Manchester’s iconic Cathedral and facing Exchange Square, New Cathedral Street right in the middle of the action. Shops range from Zara to Ted Baker and Harvey Nichols (it’s giving Absolutely Fabulous and we’re here for it).

Our top pick: You can’t beat a good old M&S mooch. From a food court to quality basics, it’s an absolute treat. Plus, you’re never too young for a cosy pyjama set!

Get your bargain-hunter hat on in Chorlton

Charity shopping is on the rise and we’re here for it. Not only does it reduce waste, but there’s no better feeling than finding that perfect piece. It may look like a granny skirt, but with a few snips here and there, it’s transformed into a super cute crop.

And there’s no better place for thrifters and creatives than Chorlton. Just a few tram stops from the centre, you’ll discover a world of second-hand stores and vintage boutiques.

Our top pick: There are all your usual suspects, including Oxfam and Barnardo’s. But if it’s weird and wonderful you’re after, we would highly recommend Reach Out To The Community.

For high-end brands, nowhere does it better than King Street

The great thing about living in Manchester is that you’re never far from a gorgeous building with a story to tell. And King Street is no exception.

Amidst the beautiful architecture, and the infamous Hotel Gotham, is a selection of upscale fashion, beauty and lifestyle stores. Escape into the dreamy world of Neal’s Yard Remedies or get kitted out at Patagonia… It’s not a shopping trip without visiting this part of town.

Our top pick: Combining a love for coffee with an even bigger love for books, we are absolutely obsessed with House of Books & Friends. This has more of a community feel than your average bookshop, with a rich history that dates back to 1871.

Experience the very best of Manchester at Hatch

If you’re heading up Oxford Road, be sure to pay Hatch a visit. In this award-winning and super funky setting (yes it’s made out of shipping containers) you’ll discover over 20 independent traders.

Having stopped by for the mouth-watering food and cocktails, many walk away clutching some unexpected finds. Retailers range from upcycled vintage fashion stalls to tailors and even sneaker cleaning services.

Our top pick: Okay, so this is more of a service. But if you’re looking for a decent phone repair place, definitely pop into Atherton Tech. You don’t even need to book in advance. They are an absolute lifesaver, trust us.

Go mad for the shopping, fall in love with the city

Whether you’re on the hunt for a high-quality apartment or you’re looking to upgrade with us, Kampus is so much more than just a place to live.

Yes, we have a wonderful selection of apartments to choose from. From independent stores and bars boasting locally brewed beers to social events and pop-ups, we’ve built a sanctuary for ambitious young professionals and creatives.

Join the Kampus community today.


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